The forecast was getting chillier and chillier as the weekend drew near. The attendance numbers grew so I had Dave mark the trip as “full” on the GMC Burlington web site. The evening before I had a few cancels and 1 the morning of, so our number was 6 including me. The temp was well below zero at the winter lot where we all met and headed out at approx. 9:15 am. We all donned snowshoes from the start and luckily others before us had broken out the road walk. This continued until we hit the Sunset Ridge/ CCC Road junction and then proceeded to Sunset Ridge, also broken out. We, of course, thought the whole trail to the ridge would be this way….not so fast in our thinking. I’d say approx. 2/10 – 3/10 mile into the trail, the trail breaker called it quits and turned around…how dare they!! So most of us took turns breaking trail to the ridge….MANY thanks to Mark McLane for doing most of that duty for the group!

Once we were above tree line, it was very tough to find the trail but we made it to the Laura Cowles junction, then headed to the summit for a quick trip. Several boarders were right behind us having a great time! Back down and just above the SR and LC, it was decision time, whether we continued across the ridge and down Maple Ridge as advertised or a posed Plan B, down LC. The latter was the more popular choice and with majority winning, we descended LC. The right choice for sure as the wind was pretty strong and numbing of toes and fingers was heard among most of the group. I got a little frostbite on my nose that cleared up pretty fast with the pulling up of my balaclava to more cover my face. And changing out gloves made a huge difference with the chilly fingers, like putting on a new pair of hands!!

Mark Mc and Rob cleared a lunch area for us in the snow and sun and we all gathered to grab a quick bite and drink. I missed it but close to the base of the LC trailhead, Mark Mc scared a ruffed grouse out of the snow very close to the trail! He did some research and learned they do burrow into the snow for the insulation to stay warm, dive bombing out of the air, burying themselves where the snowpack is deep enough…how cool!! Back to the car at 2:30 pm. A really great day with incredible photos taken by Tom M., the only one of us brave enough to show bare skin!

Participants: Mark McLane, Tom Smith, Mark Blanchard, Rob Achilles, Tom Mowatt, Robynn Albert (leader). Photos: Tom Mowatt.